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Monday 30 June 2014

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Mujaddara

At the moment, I feel like I don't have any money, won't ever have any money and can't remember what money looks like.

Peasant food beckons in times of hardship. This really old Arabic dish of mixed rice, lentils and onions is a thrifty little tumble, I haven't worked out how much a bowl costs, but I'm sure it's well under a quid. It may sound bland but it's surprisingly flavourful. That's the caramelised onions doing their job. Caramelised onions are one of the best culinary secret weapons out there. Put a dollop of minty yoghurt and a handful of toasted walnuts over the top (if you're feeling particularly opulent) and you have yourself a complete meal. I can't think of anything it wouldn't go with, but know it would be particularly brilliant with chicken, halloumi or grilled aubergine.

The recipe below is if you're making it from scratch, but it makes sense to make this when you have leftover rice or lentils.

Mujaddara (makes four main meals worth)
Preparation Time: 15 mins 
Cooking Time: 35 mins (unless you're using leftover rice and lentils)

You will need: 
  • 200g puy lentils (or you could use those ones that are already cooked in a packet)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150g basmati rice
  • a handful of sultanas
  • a big knob of butter
  • sunflower oil
  • 3 white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a dollop of yoghurt
  • fresh mint, shredded
  • a handful of walnuts, toasted (or any nuts would be nice actually)
Make it!
  1. Cover the lentils with cold water and bring to the boil (with the bay leaf) and simmer for 15-20 mins until they are just cooked but still have bite. 
  2. In the meantime, place the rice in a pan with 360ml cold water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, put a lid on and simmer for 20 mins. You should end up with perfect rice. Throw in the sultanas once it's cooked, so they plump up a little.
  3. In a frying pan, melt the butter and sunflower oil. Add the sliced onions, with a big pinch of salt and sugar and cook slowly for 20-25 mins. Make sure they don't stick, but soften.  
  4. Drain the lentils and fluff the rice with a fork. Leave to cool a little.
  5. Add the cumin and cinnamon to the onions and turn up the heat to colour them for 10 mins or so. Add the lentils and rice and mix together gently.  
  6. Mix the yoghurt with the mint. Serve in a nice bowl, with a dollop of yoghurt on top and toasted walnuts scattered over. 

Sluttery by Post: Lucky Dip Club

I've wanted to tell you about Lucky Dip Club since its launch in May, but you'll have noticed that I HAVEN'T. Until now. Why? Well, each month's boxes, filled with vintage and handmade goodies, go on sale on the 1st of the month - so today is the perfect time to let you know that July's boxes will be up for grabs tomorrow at 7am. You need to be quick - June's Tutti Frutti-themed boxes sold out super-fast. 

Those of you who loved Lady Luck Rules OK and Thrift-ola will recognise Leona, the brains and glorious fringe behind Lucky Dip Club. Her monthly subscription boxes include jewellery, accessories, stationery, DIY kits and more - all vintage or handmade. Every month has a theme - that's May's Vintage Florals pictured at the top - and you'll get one personalised item. So if your name is Jenny, that cute floral brooch would be a J! 

Let's take a sneak peek at June's box, which was only sent out a few days ago (we don't get the big content reveal until everyone has received their box; no-one likes a ruined surprise):

Well, it involves watermelons, cherries, and a vintage patch. That's all I need to know, really. Right up my street.

You can either opt for a one-off box, or subscribe on a 3-month, 6-month or rolling basis. Each box is just £15, which is less than half the value of the stuff you'll get every month. If you're buying a subscription as a gift, just be sure to tell Leona in the comments at checkout, so that she personalises for the right person. Unless you want your friend to be forced into giving you all the personalised things, because it's your name all over them. CUNNING. 

Leona sends out each month's boxes around the 25th of the month, so your package of surprises and joy will usually arrive just before payday, when you're in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Set a phone reminder for tomorrow morning, and get your mitts on July's box (the theme of which hadn't yet been revealed at the time of writing - follow Lucky Dip Club on Twitter or Facebook for REAL-TIME UPDATES). Rumour has it that Leona will also be launching a new shop this week, selling past boxes and some of the individual items she's made for them, so keep your eyes peeled!

Gluten Free: Barbecued Potatoes

As much as I'd like to announce Barbecue Weather officially open, I can't. My plans to barbecue this weekend were rained off on both Saturday and Sunday. If you do manage to barbecue without the drizzle, can I suggest you add a few potato dishes to the grill? I'm all for the meat-heavy feast that most barbecues involve, but sometimes you need carbs. Bread is all well and good, but most gluten free bread doesn't hold up that well in al fresco conditions, it needs a toaster or conventional oven. Potaoes are a good call and there's more to the spud than just potato salad. Here are three more ways to include the humble potato in your nest barbecue.

I've already mentioned the perils of barbecues for the gluten free amongst us so I won't do it again. Just remember to cook your GF food separately from any wheat-y items, make sure the grill is clean and use different utensils and serving plates.

(Oh, and if it does rain, you can cook all of these dishes in the oven or in a heavy-based frying pan.)

Hot Potato Salad (serves 4 as a side dish)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes parboiling and 30 minutes cooking
You'll need:

  • 200g salad potatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
Make it!
  1. Wash the potatoes and chop the big ones up so they're all the same sort of size.
  2. Place in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes and drain.
  3. Make a bag with a couple of sheets of tinfoil and add pour in the potatoes.
  4. Add the oil, red onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Seal the foil and shake to mix the ingredients.
  5. Place on the barbecue and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, put the bacon on the grill and cook until crispy. Chop, or crumble.
  7. Remove the potato salad from the barbecue and place in a serving bowl, add the bacon, serve.
Barbecued Potato Slices (serves 4)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes parboiling and 10 minutes grilling
You'll need:
  • 4 large red potatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp chopped mint
  • a big pinch of salt and pepper
Make it!
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into slices, about ½ cm thick.
  2. Place in a saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil, simmer for 10 minutes and drain. Leave in the colander to steam a little.
  3. Mix the oil, mint, salt and pepper and brush each potato slice with the mixture.
  4. Place the slices directly on to the barbecue and cook for 5 minutes each side. 
  5. Serve immediately.

Jacket Potatoes
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
You'll need:
  • baking potatoes, 1 or 2 per person
Make it!
  1. Scrub the potatoes and pierce the skins a few times with a knife.
  2. Wrap each potato in foil and place on the edge of your barbecue.
  3. Cook for about 1 hour, turning halfway, until cooked through.

Marvellous Maps

Maps are marvellous at any time, but in the summer they take on an extra degree of magic. So many possibilities. So many gorgeous places to discover. So much ice cream to be eaten.

While the world is just a click away, sometimes it's much more fun to pore over something physical. I'm sure real life adventurers don't rely on their phones. Here's some gorgeous globes, prints and maps to encourage the wanderluster in you.

There are many wonderful things to be discovered close to home. I could spend hours pouring over every detail in Bold and Noble's new, incredibly detailed, illustrated map of the UK and Ireland. It's seriously stunning and worthy of some serious study.

It would also look seriously good hanging in a study. Perched atop some National Geographics maybe? (How nice would the slate ink look with those yellow spines?). All this inspiration, and interior decor opportunities, is available for only £45.

These You Are Here brooches by our favourites Garudio Studiage are great for remembering holidays or some prompting, if you're the kind of adventurer who likes to get a little bit lost on the open road. We've shown you the UK map before, but there are also versions to encourage you to visit France, Australia, Ireland and USA, all for £12 each.

These Pin World maps from Volte Face also encourage you to leave your mark on the world. This map is £39.99 and you can get Europe, and even just London versions too. Made from felt, they'd also be a great way to display photos or mementos of a big trip.

Perhaps even more fun is Suck UK's cork globe. Spin it, pin it, find out where you are going on your next holiday (I'm sure you'd be allowed to spin again if you've accidentally pinned North Korea). At £100, it's a pricey option but it does offer excitement on so many different levels.

We've admired the scratch map before - well, here's the scratch globe. It's £19.95 and arrives flat-packed, making it perfect to slip into the case of someone who is about to embark on some extensive travelling. Far more fun than a scratch card. And you're far more likely to emerge as a winner too.

My favourite map, however, may just be the Corona Globe: a collaboration between the clothing brand COS and Nendo. Thankfully for my purse it's now sold out, but it's proof that even globes look cooler when dressed by Scandinavians.

For a final bit of globe porn, check out the story of UK-based globemakers Bellerby & Co.. Their prices go into the thousands, but - oh! - how much more fun than googlemaps?

Friday 27 June 2014

The Boy and his Poison: The Ball Girl

A Brazilian-themed cocktail didn't seem fitting now we're out of the World Cup so we instead get to go the route of Wimbledon, Englishness and a drink that captures the essence of Summer.

With an unashamedly heavy gin base, this drink cuts the sunshine sourness of lemon with a little slug of elderflower cordial. It then gets a foamy lift from shaken egg white, which gives it that perfect lip teasing finish. Light on the booze but heavy on flavour, it's a great gin sour variant to sit back with and enjoy the court-side action. If you have enough of them, it might even help to relax those crossed fingers.

You'll need:
  • 50ml gin (the stronger the better)
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml elderflower cordial
  • 1 egg white
Make it!
  1. As this cocktail uses egg white, start by adding all your ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake thoroughly for 10 seconds to get the air into the egg white.
  3. Add a handful of ice.
  4. Shake again for a further 10 to 15 seconds to chill the drink down to a summer-beating temperature.
  5. Strain into a coupe or martini glass. You may need to coax the last bit of foam into the drink without straining, but make sure not to waste any. It's far too tasty for that. 

Friday Wishlist: Gorgeous things you'll want to buy RIGHT NOW

The perfect dress. £65 from Oasis.

The perfect praying mantis plate. £16 from Anthropologie.

The perfect sunglasses. £45 from & Other Stories.

The perfect swimsuit. £35 from River Island.

The perfect crinkle bowls. £31 from SMUG.

The perfect shoes. £110 from LK Bennett.

Sluttery Sales Spy: Joy, Cath Kidston & Anthropologie

In the words of B*Witched, sale la vie. 


Tropical midi dress, £33 (was £48), ASOS

Just looking at this tropical print dress from ASOS makes me feel like I'm stepping off a plane in an exotic country, or at the very least it makes me recall gulping in vertiginous fear on an elevated walkway at the Eden Project. Either way, it's making my hair go frizzy.

Jovonna Bambina shift dress, £45 (was £80), ASOS

Sometimes looking for your weekly dose of brilliant bargains is like shopping for a wedding dress - I spend ages happily trawling through pages of pretty dresses, only to come back to the very first one that caught my eye. That is exactly what happened this week with this Jovonna dress. I'm very much liking the pearl trim. It's got a slight air of Queen Letizia about it, which you don't need me to tell you is A Very Good Thing Indeed.


French Connection wooden clutch, £78 (was £125), ASOS

- Knock knock!
- Who's there?
- What? Oh, no, it wasn't a joke. I was just putting my new wooden clutch from French Connection down on the table.

Louche Hampstead bag, £25 (was £50), Joy

I like Ye Olde Laydee charm of this Hampstead bag from Joy. It's the sort of bag that makes you feel important, because every time you need to get something, a Grand Performance must take place. The unclasping of that giant flap (yes, I just said that, and no, I don't for a minute think you're not sniggering about it); the creaking of (fake) leather; the endless rifling around - just getting a snot-rag from its depths is a ladylike affair. Not bad for £25.


Pewter Gleam ring, £24.95 (was £44), Anthropologie

Good gravy, I love this ring. They're probably the crystallised tears of angels, you know. (The Anthro product description is unusually matter-of-fact, so I've had to tread my own imaginative path.)

Beaded necklace, £22.99 (was £29.99), Zara

Delicate strings of beads don't always do it for me, but when they look like a giant yellow beaded BIB, I'm completely on board with the concept. Imagine. I can eat fried egg sandwiches with wild abandon, and never have to worry about the consequences.


Beautannia Cambridge candle, £8.50 (was £35), Space.NK

CANDLE POLICE: "Laura, didn't you say you were on a candle-buying ban?"
ME: "Yes. But --"
CANDLE POLICE: "So why is your basket at Space.NK filled with candles?"
ME: "It was Sian's fault, Officer Wax. She made me."

She didn't really make me. I think she probably knew I'd instantly succumb to a candle that smells like "dusty leather-bound first editions" though, when she sent that fateful email suggesting I check out Space.NK's brilliant sale. From there, it was a rapid descent into candle madness. But look at how cheap they are. I was powerless. 

Caravan sewing box, £29 (was £58), Cath Kidston

AW MAN: I know my twee klaxon should be deafening me right now, but I can't help swooning over this caravan sewing box from Cath Kidston. There's a dog in the window! And dotty Cath-esque curtains! And a shiny silver roof! It is all my caravanning holiday fantasies made fabric.


Felt animal slippers, £14.97 (was £24.95), Graham & Green

Cast your minds back, if you will, to two years ago, when we discovered the cutest slippers in Slipperdom. Okay. Now stop pootling about in 2012, please, and get right back here, because selfsame slippers are in the Graham & Green sale, and the passage of time has made them no less cute. They're for very little kids - up to two years old - but let's not hold that against the younger generation. They can't help it if they get all the best stuff (and we do get full-size fox slippers, after all).

Let's end this the way we started it: B*Witchingly.


Let Her Eat Cake: Caramel & Salted Almond Cupcakes

We love sticking amaretto in our cakes here at DSHQ, AND we love sticking caramel in them too. What's that? Salted caramel might need an almondy, cakey friend? But that's ludicrously decadent! you cry. Bring on the sugar and booze, we say.

This recipe cheats by using caramel from a tin: you should find it in most baking sections. If you're feeling virtuous, you can make your own salted caramel joy. Either way, there'll be some left over, which you could use up in our Dulce de Leche cake or even maybe in a cocktail...

Caramel & Salted Almond Cupcakes 
(Makes 12-16 depending on size of cupcake cases)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes

You will need:
For the cake:
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp amaretto
  • 1/2 tin caramel
  • Good pinch of sea salt
For the topping:
  • 1 heaped tbsp muscovado sugar
  • Handful almonds
  • Good pinch sea salt
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • The rest of the caramel 
Make it!

The cakes:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the paper cupcake cases and place in a cupcake tin.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat the eggs in one at a time, with a tablespoon of the flour to stop the mixture from splitting.
  4. Sift the rest of flour into the mixture gradually, folding in gently with a metal spoon.
  5. Stir in the ground almonds and the amaretto.
  6. Spoon half the tinned caramel into a separate bowl and sprinkle in a good pinch of sea salt. 
  7. Swirl half of the caramel mixture through the batter, retaining the rest for later.
  8. Dollop into the paper cases, filling them 2/3 full.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  10. Place on a wire rack to cool. 
The topping:
  1. Place the muscovado and 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan over a low heat and wait until the sugar is melted and bubbling.
  2. Drop the almonds into the sugar and stir quickly until completely coated in the sugar. 
  3. Tip onto a sheet of baking parchment or foil and sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt whilst still gooey. Leave to set.
  4. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl and stir together. 
  5. Cut a small, inverted cone out of the top of the cupcakes, and spoon a little of the remaining salted caramel mixture into each. 
  6. Use a piping bag or a knife to swirl or frost the cream cheese mixture on top of the cakes.
  7. Top with a drizzle more caramel and a caramelized, salted almond, and melt into a sugar coma.

Thursday 26 June 2014

Sluttishly Summery: Peach and Mint Iced Tea

When the sun comes out, tea becomes a bit of a dilemma. I can't function without it; my morning will disappear down a dark chasm of unproductive grumpiness unless I've had a cup of English Breakfast, but when it's sweltering the last thing I want to do is drink a hot drink.

This summer I plan on living on iced tea. It needs a little sweetness and tinned peaches are ideal. Add some crushed mint and not only have you solved your afternoon cuppa dilemma, you've also got the basis for a really tasty cocktail. Give your glasses a generous splash of gin before you add the tea and then top up with prosecco for a perfect summer drink.

Peach and mint iced tea (makes 1 litre)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: none
You'll need:
  • 2-3 teabags, builders tea will work a treat
  • 1 tin of peach slices in juice
  • Small handful of mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Ice cubes. Loads of 'em.
Make it:
  1. Brew your tea in a large pot - you'll need to make around 750ml tea
  2. Mash up half of your peach slices and mix with the juice. Finely chop your mint leaves and muddle together with the peach juice and sugar.
  3. Half fill your jug with ice cubes and throw in the mint, juice and remaining peach slices
  4. Pour on your tea and stir thoroughly
  5. Add more ice if needed, otherwise pour into tall glasses over ice and settle down to watch the tennis.

Tall Girl Treat: Size 9-12 Sandals To Make You Feel AWESOME

To my cost, I've discovered that I don't actually have any summer shoes that are fit for the heat. This is what happens of cowering in the shade all the time; when the sun actually hits you, your feet notice it first!

Luckily there are lots of beautiful shoes doing the rounds at the moment, so here's my pick of the ones that girls with large feet should be adding to their lists.

Up to a size 12

Shoesissima has just brought out some beautiful sandals for summer, and in sizes up to a 12.  That'll do nicely, thank you. 

The Jessica is brand new in, so you'll have to give them a bell to get your shoes.

Up to a size 11


Tall Girls have some cracking sandals this summer, but for reasons that should be apparent under the "OMG, SHINY" category, these are the ones I present to you, the Sluttery reader.

These glitter sandals are £38, and non-leather so good for veggies. Bronze is available in 9 to 11, black in 9 and 11, and silver are sold out in all but 9, but I couldn't not put them all together because the trio pleased my eyes. Soz about that.
If you want something a little less cocktail hour and a bit more "trekking merrily around the sea front in search of adventures", try these.

Not only are these beaded Long Tall Sally sandals available in sizes 7 to 11, they're £30 in the sale. Job done.
If you like a bit more heel support in your flats, try these fabulous black and silver Andres Machado sandals. They're £34.95 and are available in sizes 44 and 45 (10 and 11) on Katie Long Shoes.
 Oh alright, and another Tall Girls one because I really love these. These gold and tan wedge sandals are £39 and available in sizes 9 to 11.

Up to a size 10

LOVE the colour of these Tuka Rose sandals from After Eight. You'll need to make sure your heels are in good nick (olive oil and sugar, ladies. Olive oil and sugar.) but these are great if you've got terrible half-varnished toes that you haven't had time to fix. They're £79 and in Euro sizes 43 to 45 (so just under a 9 to nearly 10.5. Those weird Europeans).
Good old Hush Puppies - these pretty floral Caposhi Sling sandals are available in sizes 3 to 10 and are £31.50 down from £45. They also make me think of comics. A lot of things make me think of comics, but still.

Up to a 9

Frankly, I could be here all day listing sandals that come in a 9, but it's a) not fair on anyone over a 9 and b) what am I, Google? You have the power of the Ultimate 9 to 13 Shoe Guide, go forth and use it! Seriously, I'm going to have to start printing that link on business cards - there is no excuse for girls with large feet to be cramming them into 8s anymore. But I digress.

These are like ice cream for your feet - the best flavour too. These mint sandals are a delicate £20 from ASOS's excellent range of size 9s.

Happy summer to you and your feet. Lots of love, Kat xxx

Sluttishly Sweet: Italian Hot Chocolate

You know when you're in Italy and your blood type is pretty much exclusively Aperol Spritz? You need a break, right? Hot chocolate is a very British 'it's raining' type of hot drink. Like a taste of home.

Not in Italy. When you order it there you get something quite different. You get a thick, dark custard-like mass of silky chocolate liquid. I say liquid, it's actually so thick, it's more like pudding. You can see why I'm liking Italy so much.

Having wanted pudding the other night, and with no means to make it — I made this out of cupboard stuffs and my cravings were satisfied... and then some. If you like a bit of salt with your sweet, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on the top.

Italian Hot Chocolate (serves one) 
Preparation Time: 1 min
Cooking Time: 3-5mins

You'll need:
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (the dark stuff)
  • 2 heaped tbsp sugar
  • 280ml whole milk
  • 25g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces (this isn't essential)
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
Make it!
  1. Put the milk, cocoa and sugar in a pan and heat. When warm, add the chocolate and whisk all together.
  2. Mix the cornflour with a little milk to a smooth paste, then add it to the chocolate milk. 
  3. Keep whisking until it thickens, which should take a few minutes. As soon as it's thickened it's ready.

Storage Solutions Of Every Size

If you've ever been to IKEA, you will know they don't offer products: they offer solutions. Bath solutions. Kitchen solutions. (Here is a game you can play with a friend: ask a member of staff, with a straight face, if they stock any toilet solutions.) And, of course, storage solutions. Masses and masses of them. I bloody love IKEA.

But if you're looking for something a bit different, that - while lacking the opportunity to stop off for meatballs and Dime bar cake - will look beautiful as well as functional, then take a look. I'll take you from cheapest to most expensive (stick around for the last one, it is flipping gorgeous).

Oh Muji, your acrylic boxes do not photograph fabulously, but imagine these acrylic drawers full of your make-up and how pleasing it will be to see everything lined up. No more rummaging around for your sensible work eyeliner in the mornings, giving up, and applying the blue glitter one instead. They're £10.95. And get these stackable boxes for your nail varnish - annoyingly, they're not on the UK website but always available in store for just £3.25.

Lisa Angel's vintage map storage boxes speak of travel and adventure, even if you just use them for cat treats and hair bands. They're £14 for the pair, there's free delivery, AND you get 5% off your first order. Use that 70p for a Crunchie bar, which you can then store in the box of your choice.

Ladies: I cannot emphasise enough the importance of learning DIY. It is immensely satisfying, plus you get to save huge amounts of money by not forking out your life savings so someone can fix your sink. There is nothing you cannot learn with a YouTube video and a willing spirit. And you can buy this Happy Jackson toolbox from Hunkydory Home for £15 and fill it with screwdrivers and spirit levels and sandpaper.

If you were going to start a COMPANY selling BASKETS, what would you call it? Too late - the Basket Company have got in before you. It's worth exploring their whole range as it's ludicrously huge, and you can shop by type, room or size. This grey wicker storage basket is £15 and is typical of their traditional style and reasonable pricing.

Now let's imagine you've got loads of vintage crates you want to sell. Your company is, of course, Vintage Crates. These storage companies take a very Ronseal approach to naming. Now let's imagine in a previous life you were a lady fruit picker and you struggled to carry your Braeburns to market. You need a women's apple crate, although at £27.50 that would have probably been your annual wages. It's ok: it's 2014 and you can use it to grow herbs in or, as the site suggests, 'carry things around'.

I didn't know I needed a steamer trunk covered in foxes until I saw this hunk of joy, and now it is all my heart desires. It's £225 from Anorak but I have a cunning plan: I will sell my bed, sleep in this for the next 50 years, and then pack all my belongings in it and go on a round-the-world cruise.
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